Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Multicore Computers and Old Programs*

How To Get Old Programs To Work On New Computers

I hope you are all enjoying a holiday respite. I am taking it easy, and re-posting a How To tip from mid 2007. While I discuss games, the advice applies to all programs.

So you went out and bought a new computer — congratulations! You got a good one, too: it has everything, including a dual-core processor. You have installed your favorite programs, and by that, I mean your games — great!

There’s just one catch — now some of your games misbehave and act like they’re in hyperdrive, everything moves at warp speed, and instead of three bloodthirsty hobgoblins, there’s thirty. You’re getting killed faster than you can press your “S” key… and that isn’t any fun! Or worse, the game will just freeze in mid-play.

I first noticed this on Battlefield 1942 (the whole series, actually). And then I noticed it on Call of Duty, but not so much on Call of Duty 2. And it was really bad on Quake. It became clear to me that the older the game, the more susceptible to this un-play-ability it was.

If this has happened to you, the odds are good you have a dual, triple, or quad core CPU. These processors weren’t available when these programs were written, and so the programmers didn’t factor in their ability to process multiple “threads” — basically what’s happening is these new processors are making two (or four) ‘events’ occur at the same time, where they are meant to happen one at a time.

But don’t worry… you need not say goodbye to your favorite games!

Tip of the day: Getting older programs to run smoothly on a new machine is just a couple of clicks away. Some of your programs are going to require you to “turn off” one of the ‘cores’ before it will run right.
To do this, launch the program and let it load (but don’t start using/playing it yet).
Now launch the Windows Task Manager by doing the “three fingered salute”, combination-press the Ctrl+Alt+Del keys (or Start >Run and enter “taskmgr” no quotes).
Click on (select) the Processes tab. tm.jpg

This shows a list of all the running processes on your machine, and how much RAM and CPU cycles are being used by each process. I have launched Battlefield 1942, which shows as the top (most recent) process.
* Right-click on the app that you want to adjust, in our case “BF 1942.exe”.

For some reason, the program-to-processor linkage is called “Affinity“, so from the menu of choices that appear due to our right-clicking, we want to click on (select) “Set Affinity”.
If you have a dual-core CPU, two CPU’s will be shown and checked, A quad-core, four.. We want to uncheck all but one… as shown below.

affin.jpg

With luck, now your program will run like it should. Unfortunately, you must do this each time you want to launch your game/program. Sometimes, the game manufacturer’s will issue a “patch” that will mitigate this issue. Visit their website and look for downloadable “patches” and/or “updates”.

For really old programs and games, you may need to set them to run in something called “compatibility mode“. Mostly these will be items you have left over from your Windows 98 (or Me) days… but if you’re running Vista, you may need to do this for programs that ran fine on XP. Right-click on the program’s shortcut (desktop) icon and select (click) Properties. Now click on the Compatibility tab, as shown below.
compat_mode

Use the drop-down arrow to select the operating system you would like the program to run in as if it were installed. Here I am telling a Vista machine to run a XP environment, but you may need to set it to “Windows 98″. A little experimentation will determine your best choice.

Today’s free download: There’s a small app called Prio that allows you to “Save” priority and affinity, so you won’t have to set them at each launch.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 7, 2009 - Posted by | advice, Compatibility Mode, computers, dual-core processors, Gaming, how to | , , , , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. TechPaul,

    Being an avid gamer, and needing that gaming “fix” daily, I know how frustrating it is when a game misbehaves on a new machine.

    Thanks for giving us the solution to a very aggravating problem.

    Bill

    Like

    Comment by Bill Mullins | September 7, 2009 | Reply

  2. TechPaul,

    Another great “How To” article from Tech-for Everyone…

    Rick

    Like

    Comment by Ramblinrick | September 7, 2009 | Reply

    • Rick,
      You are very kind, sir.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | September 7, 2009 | Reply

  3. […] Multicore Computers and Old Programs* Tech-for Everyone […]

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    Pingback by Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#27) « What's On My PC | September 9, 2009 | Reply

  4. […] Make Older Programs Work With Newer Computers September 10, 2009 SMallard Leave a comment Go to comments Compatibility mode helps make older programs work with newer computers.  Another good tip comes from TechPaul.  His blog gives step by step instructions on setting the processor affinity.  Link […]

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    Pingback by Make Older Programs Work With Newer Computers « TTC Shelbyville – Technical Blog | September 10, 2009 | Reply

  5. Hi there,
    Good site, I just came across it and I am already a fan.

    Like

    Comment by Computers & Tech | September 15, 2009 | Reply

  6. Hey there,
    Cool post, I just came across it and I am already a fan.

    Like

    Comment by Anonymous | September 16, 2009 | Reply


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